is for Bluebells. Wild Bluebells, under an old hawthorn tree, its miniature boughs spread out across the inside face of the high garden wall at An Gàrradh Mòr. The wall – here three metres high and at least three centuries old, protects the tree from Atlantic storms. The tree, though stunted in growth and habit, passes on the good turn, giving shelter to a carpet of wild flowers below its branches. Right now, it’s the turn of the bluebells to bloom. Today’s the First of May, and the day’s been gloriously sunny and warm (18deg C in the shade!), and if conditions continue favourable, the hawthorn itself may burst into flower within the next few weeks.
They might not look much to you, but the presence of wild bluebells – a plant that belongs to woodland clearings – suggests that this tree and these bluebells may have been here a very long time – possibly since before the introduction of ‘the big sheep’ during the Clearances of the mid 19thC, which led to the loss of most of the little native woodland that remained in the islands at that time.